Saturday, March 1, 2008

Interesting Facts About Caffeine and Its Products

A few years ago, I bought this National Geographic issue devoted to caffeine. Found out some interesting stuff about it. Today, as I sit here drinking a large cup of French Roast, I couldn't help but think about the impact caffeine has over our daily lives (namely mine). Below are just some of the interesting facts about it from the January 2005 National Geographic article. To say the least, it was a real eyebrow raiser when I first read it and continues to be even when I flip through it, today.

- Studies suggest that extroverted people are less sensitive to caffeine's effects than introverts.

- Pain relievers fortified with caffeine have proven more effective than the analgesics used alone.

- The robusta coffee beans used in less expensive brands contain almost twice as much caffeine as the arabica beans favored by coffee connoisseurs.

- Military studies of subjects who hadn't slept for 48 hours showed that 600 mg of caffeine improved alertness and mood as much as 20 mg of amphetamine.

- Going without caffeine for a day and a half increases blood flow in the brain, which may explain why people get headaches when they first give it up.

- Caffeine is so acrid that it's used as a standard for "bitter" in training professional food tasters.

- The caffeine extracted from coffee beans to make decaf is sold to drug and soft drink manufaturers.

- Caffeine is being developed as a pesticide for slugs and snails.

- A university student in Wales committed suicide in 2002 when he deliberately swallowed caffeine pills equivalent to 100 cups of coffee.

- Black tea, green tea, and oolong are all made from the same plant; the differences in taste and color come from their processing.

- One of the newest products to wich the stimulant has been added: "Coffee tights" are panty hose with caffeine woven into their threads to supposedly help shrink thighs.

- Vietnam is now the second largest producer of coffee worldwide, but it's largely a nation of tea drinkers.

- Cigarette smoking nearly doubles the rate at which the body metabolizes caffeine.

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